At the CeaseFirePA offices near Independence Mall, Executive Director Shira Goodman took a break from organizing a rally next week in Harrisburg to watch President Obama’s speech on her laptop.
Goodman arrived at the gun violence policy group in October, when gun control seemed far off the political menu - the topic was barely touched upon during the presidential campaign.
Suddenly, the issue has returned to the top of the headlines in Pennsylvania and nationally - a moment for advocates to seize.
She agreed with the president when he said rallying public support, keeping the sense of urgency from the Sandy Hook shooting, would be key.
“They need to hear from us - our elected officials in Harrisburg and Washington,” Goodman said.
As for the proposals put forth by Obama and Vice President Biden, she said, “I’m pleased. They didn’t shy away from the tough battles.”
“The ban on certain kinds of weapons, again that’s going to be the hardest measure, but I think it’s a conversation we’re ready to have,” Goodwin said. “What are the civilian purpose of these weapons? I think a lot people believe there isn’t one.”
She also applauded universal background checks as a “common sense reform,” but said opponents would argue the idea of a national database of guns could be a precursor to eventual government confiscation.
“I think we need to start fighting that slippery slope and say these common sense regulations are not about lists of gun owners and law abiding people. We’re trying to keep the guns with the law-abiding gun owners and not getting them into the wrong hands,” she said.
“Because we know that illegal guns, they started out as legal guns. Someone bought them. There’s not like a ship that comes in and the criminals take the guns. They’re bought by somebody and they’re either lost or stolen, or they’re transferred improperly, they’re trafficked, they’re straw bought.”
The group's Harrisburg rally is slated for Jan. 23 at noon, at the East Wing of the Capitol.
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